I was lucky to recently spend some time in sunny Austin, Texas for SXSW interactive festival. It was my first trip to the city and I definitely enjoyed it. When I asked people for travel tips before leaving many recommendations seemed to focus on food. Austin has tons of great restaurants and bars as well as a very interesting “food cart” or food trailer culture. These carts serve everything from tacos and wraps to crepes and cake balls. They are scattered throughout the city and while some are stationary, others move locations. The question is how you navigate these local spots and what trailers are worth the visit?
I went on an un-official food trailer crawl with my friend and travel writer Andy Hayes and Beth Krauss from the Austin CVB. We set out to try some unique and delicious foods and see how many carts we could visit before calling it quits.
First stop was The Mighty Cone in South Congress. I tried the hot and crunchy chicken cone. Which is served wrapped in a tortilla and served in a paper snow cone. Overall it was very good, although I had to remind myself not to get carried away. We still had several spots to see.
Next we headed over to the South Austin Trailer Park & Eatery. It’s a location with several carts and outdoor seating. We wanted to try Torchy’s Tacos which has a reputation for having both delicious food and unique taco combinations. One that we tried was the “The Democrat,” which had shredded beef barbacoa and onions topped off with fresh avocado, queso fresco, cilantro and a lime wedge served on a corn tortilla with green salsa. After tacos we went next door to Holy Cacao for dessert. This trailer describes itself as a “gourmet dessert trailer offering unusual items such as Cake Balls, S‘mores and Frozen Hot Chocolate at affordable prices.” We went for the cake balls, and they were amazing and not what you would expect to be served from that tiny trailer.
Our final and third trailer location was Gourdough’s for doughnuts. Like Tourchy’s this food cart has some unique combinations on their menu. We shared the Mother Clucker. Check out this short video to see this crazy doughnut and for quick reviews from Andy and Beth.
Overall I think our mission was a success. The food carts are a fun and unique part of the Austin food scene. Sitting outside on a sunny day eating at a picnic table was a plus to the experience. Somehow I don’t think food carts of this nature would do well with the Ohio weather. I look forward to my next visit to Austin. After all, there are still several more food carts I must try.